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Hockey

Hockey Scores & Recaps Standings Stats Teams Matchups Players Minors College Juniors SI Almanac

Wings get meaner, tougher -- and older

Click here for more on this story

Posted: Monday March 29, 1999 02:01 PM

 
Kostya Kennedy's
Main Events
Here's a quick recap of the matchups SI's Kennedy deemed worthy of the marquee:

Buffalo at Pittsburgh
Final score: 1-1
Dominik Hasek returned from Germany and Matthew Barnaby played his first game against his former team. The Dominator allowed only a Barnaby goal in the first and Buffalo's Michal Grosek provided the game-tying goal.

Pittsburgh at Buffalo
Buffalo 4-3, OT
The Sabres closed a two-goal lead in the third period and Dixon Ward scored the game-winner with 2:33 remaining in OT. Jaromir Jagr, whose nine-game point streak had ended the previous day, scored twice.

New York Rangers at Philadelphia
Philadelphia 3-1
The Flyers won their third game in a row on the strength of Valeri Zelepukin's two second-period goals and the Rangers slipped a bit further from playoff contention. Eric Lindros was suspended two games for high-sticking Petr Nedved.

Check back each Thursday when SI's Kennedy previews his Main Events for CNN/SI.

By Jamie MacDonald, CNN/SI

Well, most of us can wake up each morning with the satisfaction that our name is not Anders Eriksson and our fate is not to fill the boots of Chris Chelios in his home town.

As the NHL becomes more and more like baseball in terms of the trading deadline, the line between win-now and purge-now is redrawn. On Tuesday, the Red Wings and Blackhawks swapped present for future and now for later when Bob Murray pulled the trigger on his captain.

Chicago received Eriksson, the blossoming defenseman, and a couple of first-round draft picks (1999 and 2000) from the Red Wings and the deal could eventually -- eventually -- be a solid one for the Blackhawks. Eriksson, 24, is a good defenseman, and may very likely develop into a great defenseman, he just won't own an alliterative restaurant in town, or become the reason the Superfans reunite.

But the deal -- along with the rest of deadline day -- was all about Detroit. Leave it to Hockeytown, USA, to steal the show. Detroit gave up Eriksson, goaltender Kevin Hodson, the two first-round picks, plus two second round picks and a third-round pick in other trades, to get Chelios, left wing Wendel Clark , defenseman Ulf Samuelsson and goaltender Bill Ranford . As long as it's not you not spending the money or rooting for the Wings past the millennium, you should warm up to these moves -- especially for the playoffs (with perhaps the exception of the Cup-tested but struggling Ranford).

Uwe Krupp is out for the year, at least, and Nicklas Lidstrom may not return to the NHL next season. The Wings have also proven all season long that, unlike previous seasons, they need some help in their own end. Which is where Chelios and Samuelsson (out nearly until the playoffs with a foot injury) come in. Ulfie, for his faults, is a menace in front of his goaltender -- the reach of his stick is a dangerous circumference. Come too close and it's cross-check city. Chelios logs tons of icetime and will be just as mean. Clark, who has returned to Cy Young form (29-14, 43 points), enjoys getting his nose into the action too, and he's having his best season in years.

So even though the Wings were 34-30-6 at the deadline, for at least one day, Detroit was Hockeytown again. They may not be our pick to go all the way, but this team is more capable of winning in the playoffs than the team that began the week.

For a complete breakdown of the NHL merry-go-round take a look at Jim Kelley's In the Corner column, and read a Q&A with Sports Illustrated hockey writer Michael Farber.

Storylines We're Following
M.I.A.
A Canadian newspaper reported Thursday that the FBI and the NHL are looking into a possible link between the agent for Andrei Zyuzin -- the young Sharks defenseman whose whereabouts has not been know since he missed a team flight last Friday -- and the Russian mafia. Vitaly Shevchenko , an agent who lost his NHL Players Association certification, was hired by Zyuzin prior to the 21-year-old's disappearance. Because the NHL prohibits contact between its teams and uncertified agents, the Sharks have been unable to speak with Shevchenko about his client.

Groin pains
Dominik Hasek , who had just returned to the lineup after missing a month with a strained groin, twisted his back in a collision with New Jersey's Brendan Morrison on Tuesday, March 23. The Dominator finished the game and practiced Wednesday, but he did not dress that evening for a game against Detroit and then took off for Germany to see a consultant about his still-nagging groin. Hasek's health has got to be Priority 1 in Buffalo. When he misses games, it's not good news: while he was away the Sabres went 5-4-3. Hovering around .500 is good enough to make the playoffs these days, but not good enough to stay there.

The flip side
You've heard the early returns on Chelios, Clark, Joe Juneau , Benoit Hogue and Theo Fleury (all veterans traded for younger players), but we'll be checking the box scores every once and a while to see how Eriksson, Hodson, Alexei Tezikov (to Washington in the Juneau deal), Sergey Gusov (to Tampa Bay in the Hogue deal) and Rene Corbet (to Calgary in the Fleury deal two weeks ago) are doing after being shuffled off to the more remote regions of the conference standings.
 

NHL's Three Stars
Each week, we'll take a look at a few of the individuals making a significant impact on team success.

1. Byron Dafoe, Boston -- Both he and the Bruins are 3-0-1 in their last four and 9-3-2 in their last 14. Boston is trying to nail down the No. 8 spot in the East. Dafoe shut the Senators out on March 24 in a possible first-round playoff matchup.

2. Valeri Bure, Calgary -- Five goals in his last five games -- three have been game-winners in 3-1-1 stretch as the Flames cling to the final Western Conference playoff spot.

3. Ken Holland, Detroit -- We know the Red Wings GM gave up a lot and might as well show up fashionably late to the next few entry drafts, but the Red Wings are much better equipped to defend the Cup than they were at this time last week.

Bandwagon
Senators 1 vs. 8 matchup not the one they want
Steve Shields Eight straight starts with good reason
Sharks Hottest team in NHL -- really
Stu Barnes Goal-less in five with Buffalo
Joe Sakic Red-hot center also dropped the gloves
Chicago hope Arrow says it all, for a few years
Stars Plante will help NHL's best team
Canadiens' captains Traded as often as "future considerations"
Capitals Good year to be bad in D.C.
Philadelphia Righting its ship
Flames/Oilers Battle of Alberta is for playoffs, too
If the Season Ended Today ...

... Doug Weight would finish with three goals and 28 points in 33 games -- easily the lowest numbers of his career (even in the 48-game 1994 season he was 7-33-40 -- and tied for eighth on the team in scoring. When the season does end (and some argue it has for the Oilers), it will mark the first time in five seasons Weight did not lead the team in scoring.

 
Related information
Stories
Kostya Kennedy's NHL Mailbag: Looking west, to the playoffs and beyond
CNN/SI's Jim Kelley: Judging the playoff impact of trades
SI's Michael Farber: Wings trump Avalanche with trades
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